5 Best VPNs for Apple TV Working in 2023: Easy Setup Guide
- Best VPNs for Apple TV — Full Analysis (Updated in 2023)
- ExpressVPN — Best Apple TV VPN With a Dedicated Router App for Easy Streaming
- CyberGhost — Streaming-Optimized Servers to Reliably Watch Your Favorite Content on Apple TV
- Private Internet Access — Large Server Network to Access Worldwide Content on Apple TV
- IPVanish — Fast Speeds for Streaming Content on Your Apple TV From Anywhere
- PrivateVPN — Intuitive Apps to Easily Share a VPN Connection to Your Apple TV
- Quick Comparison Table: Apple TV VPN Features
- Tips on Choosing the Best VPN for Apple TV
- How to Set Up a VPN on Your Apple TV
- FAQs on VPNs for Apple TV
- Get the Best VPN for Apple TV Today
Watching your favorite content on your phone or laptop is good, but not quite the same as watching on a large screen using an Apple TV. Unfortunately, you can’t install a VPN directly onto your Apple TV, but there are some ways around this.
To get a VPN on your Apple TV, you need to find one with router support or Smart DNS. When you install a VPN on your router, you can connect your Apple TV to it and access your desired content. Smart DNS works differently in that it doesn’t encrypt your traffic as a VPN does. Instead, it replaces your ISP DNS number with a new one from your preferred country.
I tested multiple VPNs to see if they work on Apple TV, and my top recommendation is ExpressVPN. It has a dedicated router app and Smart DNS for connecting to Apple TV. Its reliable, lightning-fast servers allowed me to access popular streaming sites and watch countless episodes of my favorite shows in 4K quality. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it risk-free and see if it’s right for you. If you’re not happy, you can get a refund.
- ExpressVPN — The best Apple TV VPN with blazing-fast speeds, a dedicated router app, and a step-by-step Apple TV setup guide to get you started in no time.
- CyberGhost — Has streaming-optimized servers for watching on Apple TV, but speeds aren’t the best.
- Private Internet Access — Boasts an extensive server network so you can access content worldwide, but its app comes with a lot of customization options thus making it less user-friendly.
- IPVanish — Fast speeds for watching content on Apple TV in HD, but doesn’t offer a Smart DNS feature.
- PrivateVPN — Intuitive app to start streaming on Apple TV in minutes but it doesn’t offer a pre-configured VPN router for easy installation.
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- Dedicated router app to change servers hassle-free
- Super-fast speeds for UHD streaming on Apple TV
- 3,000 servers across 94 countries to access content from anywhere
- Can unblock: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, ITV Hub, Paramount+, Disney+, Discovery+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, ESPN, Peacock, YouTube TV, fuboTV, and more
- Compatible with: Apple TV, Windows, Mac, iOS, Chromebook, Android, Linux, routers, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Xiaomi Mi Box, Kodi, Google Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and more
Since Apple TV doesn’t support native VPN apps, you’ll need to install the VPN on your router. ExpressVPN is one of the rare VPNs with a dedicated router app, so you can quickly and easily change your location. I used the step-by-step router setup guide on its website and found it very helpful. But if you don’t want to go through the installation process, you can get a router with ExpressVPN pre-configured on it.
Also, ExpressVPN offers a great alternative to installing it on a router: a Smart DNS service called MediaStreamer, specially made for streaming purposes. I prefer this over the router method because I can directly install it on Apple TV to watch US or UK content without switching servers. However, it only works in those regions.
So if you need access to other countries, the router setup is what you need. You can choose from a selection of 3,000 servers in 94 countries. This extensive range of servers means less server crowding and faster speeds.
ExpressVPN has incredibly fast speeds for streaming in UHD on your Apple TV. I tested some local servers and was pleased to find that my base download speeds of 47 Mbps only dropped by less than 5% on average. Even when I connected to distant servers — in particular, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — I still managed to get an average speed drop of only 10%. With these kinds of speeds, you’ll be able to stream videos with no interruptions.
The only minor con about ExpressVPN is that it has slightly higher prices than other VPNs, with prices starting at $6.67/month. But the great thing is that you can get a pretty good discount on its long-term plans, where you could be saving up to 49%.
Luckily, all ExpressVPN plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can get a refund. The process is easy and hassle-free — all you need to do is chat with a support representative via the 24/7 live chat. After your refund is processed, you’ll get your money back in a few days.
- 9,753 servers, including streaming-optimized ones for watching on Apple TV
- Decent speeds for uninterrupted streaming
- 7 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Showtime, Disney+, Discovery+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, Peacock, ESPN, YouTube TV, fuboTV, and more
- Compatible with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi, Roku, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Chrome, Firefox, Raspberry Pi, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and more
CyberGhost has a bunch of streaming-optimized servers so you can access your favorite shows and movies on the most popular streaming sites. These particular servers are regularly tested to ensure they can unblock the major streaming platforms on your Apple TV. You can find them by clicking on the “For streaming” menu on the app. Then you can sort them according to which streaming site they unblock or by country. I found this helpful because I could find my preferred server much quicker.
I tested a few of these dedicated servers to see if they worked, and I wasn’t disappointed. The US server optimized for Hulu worked immediately, so I could watch episode after episode of Homeland.
To get CyberGhost working on your Apple TV, you can use its Smart DNS service, install the software on your router, or purchase a pre-configured one. I prefer to use the Smart DNS as it’s quicker to set up and easy to use. CyberGhost has DNS addresses specifically for accessing Netflix US and UK and Hulu. So if these are the platforms that you use the most, the Smart DNS option will be great for you.
When it comes to speeds, CyberGhost isn’t as good as ExpressVPN. On local servers, I experienced a 39% drop from my base of 40 Mbps, whereas, on long-distance servers, I got a 60% drop. Nevertheless, I was able to watch my favorite shows in HD with little to no buffering since only 5 Mbps are required for it.
CyberGhost has multiple plans to choose from, starting at $2.19/month. I recommend a long-term plan, as these often give you the best value. I was able to score a discount of 84% when choosing my subscription plan.
I was impressed with CyberGhost’s generous money-back guarantee for its long-term plans. It offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can try the service risk-free. The monthly plan, however, only gives you 14 days. Either way, if you’re not happy, you can ask for your money back.
- 29,650 servers in 84 countries to stream content on Apple TV from anywhere
- Smart DNS that allows you to stream on your Apple TV
- 10 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Peacock TV, Paramount+, Discovery+, Vudu, ESPN, and more
- Compatible with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, routers, and more
PIA’s massive network of servers means you can easily find a server to watch your desired content on Apple TV. Since there are more servers for you to try to connect to, there’s less load on each one, which means you can get better speeds. I tested multiple servers and found that I could access any site I wanted, including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Plus, it has some streaming-optimized servers but they’re not dedicated to specific streaming platforms like CyberGhost’s.
When testing PIA’s speeds, I found that they were good. Using servers closer to me, I got an average download speed of 35 Mbps compared to my base speed of 42 Mbps (17% speed drop). The streaming-optimized server (US West) gave me a download speed of 33 Mbps, which is a 21% speed drop from my base speed. This is still acceptable taking into account that the US is far away from my actual location.
I was able to watch All American: Homecoming and had no issues with video quality. You really only need about 5 Mbps to stream in HD, and it’s quite normal for a VPN to drop your speeds by up to 20%.
PIA has a Smart DNS feature that helps you change your virtual location on your Apple TV without having to configure the VPN on your router. It’s really simple to set up, and PIA has an easy-to-follow guide on the site, which I found to be quite helpful.
Another option is to install it on your router. But if you don’t want to go through that process, you can purchase a PIA pre-configured FlashRouter.
The only negative thing about PIA is that it has customizable settings that can be a bit confusing to use, especially for beginners. When using the app in its extended version, I found that it wasn’t intuitive. However, PIA comes pre-configured and ready for you to use, so you don’t need to change anything to access your streaming platforms. Plus, it’s still easy to find and connect to a server.
PIA has some reasonably priced plans you could choose from, starting at $2.19/month. I’d recommend investing in a long-term plan to get the best value, where you could save up to 83%.
All of the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out for yourself risk-free. If you decide it’s not right for you, just reach out to customer service within 30 days of your purchase to receive a refund.
- Good streaming speeds so you can watch your favorite shows in HD
- Customizable server settings to meet your needs
- Unlimited simultaneous device connections for connecting your Apple TV and other devices all at once
- Can unblock: Netflix, Showtime, Disney+, Discovery+, Paramount+, ITV Hub, Hulu, ESPN, Vudu, and more
- Compatible with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi, Roku, Google Chromecast, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chromebook, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, routers, and more
IPVanish’s servers gave me good speeds for streaming. During testing, the long-distance US servers that I used to watch my shows on Netflix gave me average speeds of 44 Mbps. This was just an 8% drop in my download speeds compared to my base speed of 48 Mbps. With IPVanish’s fast servers, you can watch content on your Apple TV and expect no issues with video quality.
With IPVanish, you can filter the 2,000 servers by country, city, ping, and load. For example, if you want faster speeds then you can choose a server with the lowest load. If you’re looking to access a streaming site that is only available in a certain region, then you can sort the servers by country. When choosing my server for streaming Netflix US, I picked the one with the lowest ping and load from the US list.
Regrettably, IPVanish does not support the Smart DNS function. In order to get IPVanish on your Apple TV, you can either install it on a router that supports it (DD-WRT or Tomato) or purchase a router that does.
There are several methods for viewing streaming media on your Apple TV. Use AirPlay or a VPN to access a streaming service in another country to stream media from a different device.
You can get IPVanish by purchasing one of its 3 premium plans (long-term plans often give you more value for your money). When I was signing up, I got a discount of 66%.
IPVanish’s yearly plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to try it risk-free. Just keep in mind that this offer isn’t available with the other plans. You don’t even need to speak to customer service to cancel your subscription. Instead, you can do this via the account portal online. When I tried to cancel my subscription, all I had to do was go to my IPVanish account and click on “I wish to cancel my subscription” under the Subscription menu.
- Easy-to-use software so you can stream on your Apple TV
- 200 servers for accessing streaming libraries from anywhere
- 10 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ESPN+, DAZN, YouTube TV, and more
- Compatible with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Raspberry Pi, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Chrome, Firefox, Google Chromecast, Kodi, routers, and more
You can share the VPN connection from one of your devices to your Apple TV thanks to PrivateVPN's user-friendly apps, which are incredibly simple to use. This works by sharing your VPN connection over WiFi by using one device (like your computer) as a hotspot. Following that, you can stream on your Apple TV using the shared VPN connection. Using just the Simple View, it took me 2 clicks to locate and connect to a server. You can also use AirPlay, as I mentioned with respect to IPVanish.
Even though its network is smaller, with 200 servers in 63 countries, PrivateVPN has great coverage. So you should easily be able to find a server in your preferred region or nearby. I wanted to see if it could access HBO Max so I can watch my favorite show, and it did. Its Los Angeles server quickly unblocked the streaming platform and allowed me to watch House of the Dragon.
Speeds were good enough for streaming. I tested the speeds on 3 nearby servers and got an average download speed of 36 Mbps, which is a 25% drop from my base speed. The US servers were only a little slower, at 34 Mbps (29% speed drop) on average, because they’re much further away from me. Even though the results were slower than ExpressVPN’s, you should still be able to watch with no interruptions or delays.
What I don’t like about PrivateVPN is that it doesn’t have a Smart DNS option and it doesn't offer pre-configured routers. But you can still install it yourself on a compatible router. Although this can be a little bit tricky, its website includes detailed setup guides on a number of compatible routers.
PrivateVPN offers multiple plans which all come with the same features. Depending on the available offers, you can get a discount of up to 85% and pay as little as $2/month. I recommend going for a long-term plan so you can get the best value.
Each plan is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try PrivateVPN to see if it’s right for you. If not, you can simply request a refund. I had a closer look into its refund policy and it said that all refunds are processed within 5 business days from confirmation of cancellation.
Quick Comparison Table: Apple TV VPN Features
Tips on Choosing the Best VPN for Apple TV
To determine the best VPNs for Apple TV, I matched each one against a set of criteria. The key features I looked for were:
- Worldwide server network. It’s important that a VPN has a large number of servers spread across different regions. This means you’ll find servers in pretty much any country you want to access content from on your Apple TV. Also, the more servers there are, the less load there is on each server — which means no overcrowding, and faster speeds.
- Fast speeds. You need fast speeds to stream content on Apple TV without interruptions. I tested each VPN on this list and found that their average download speeds were fast enough for streaming in HD and even 4K. I watched my favorite shows and didn’t experience any buffering.
- Convenient router support. Apple TV doesn’t support native VPN apps, so it’s important to look for a VPN that supports routers. Installing a VPN on your router is one of the ways you can get the VPN to work on your Apple TV. All 5 VPNs support routers, but I recommend ExpressVPN. It goes above and beyond by having its own router app, which makes it easier for you to change your location.
- Intuitive Smart DNS service. This feature is a great alternative to installing the VPN on your router, which takes some manual configuration. Smart DNS is generally easy to use and is faster than a VPN connection (because there’s no encryption). My top 3 recommended VPNs all have this feature, and it’s been tested on each one for Apple TV to ensure it works as described.
- Great unblocking capabilities. There’s no use getting a VPN on your Apple TV if you can’t access streaming sites. To make your life easier, I tested each VPN’s ability to access major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and more. Each VPN had servers that allowed me to access a number of popular sites and watch my shows.
- Easy-to-use apps. All of my recommended VPNs have user-friendly apps which make it easy to connect to and switch servers. The router setups involve a bit of effort, but top VPN picks each have detailed setup instructions for configuration. Plus, if you do run into any issues, each one has 24/7 live chat support.
It’s not possible to install a VPN app directly on your Apple TV because the device doesn’t support VPN apps, but there are other ways to get it working. I found 3 different methods to get a VPN on your Apple TV. You can set up Smart DNS, install a VPN on your router, or use a VPN on your iPad/iPhone and AirPlay it on your TV. I’ve provided step-by-step instructions on each method.
Set up Smart DNS on your Apple TV
- Get a VPN that has Smart DNS. I recommend ExpressVPN because its MediaStreamer DNS service is specifically designed for streaming.
- Go to the ExpressVPN DNS settings page. You may need to enter your ExpressVPN credentials to sign in.
- Register your IP address. You can find this under “IP address registration” tab. If your IP address is already registered, you can skip this step. You can also enable the “Automatically register my IP” setting.
- Go to the ExpressVPN setup page (you may need to enter your credentials again). Select Apple TV, and on the right-hand side, you’ll find the MediaStreamer DNS server IP address (you’ll need this information for step 6).
- On your Apple TV, open Settings and then select Network. Once you’re in the Network menu, select your connection (Wi-Fi) and open its settings. Then choose Manual in the Configure DNS options.
- Enter the MediaStreamer DNS IP address (from step 4). Then, click Done.
- Restart your Apple TV and open your desired streaming platform.
- Now you can stream on your Apple TV from anywhere.
Install a VPN on your router
- Get a VPN. My top choice is ExpressVPN. It’s the only VPN on this list that comes with its own router app, which makes it much easier to change locations.
- Go to your router dashboard by typing 192.168.1.1 into your browser’s URL bar. If this doesn’t work (and you’re using a Windows device), you can go to Command Prompt and type in ipconfig, then press Enter (this will show you your router’s IP address).
- Once you’re on the dashboard, go to where it says “Services” and choose “VPN”.
- Enable the “Start Open VPN Client” option.
- Download the router firmware. ExpressVPN has step-by-step setup guides for this. Then, connect your router to the internet and install the router firmware.
- Connect your Apple TV to the router.
- Sign in to your favorite streaming site and start watching on your Apple TV.
Use AirPlay and a VPN
- Download a VPN on your Mac/iPhone/iPad. My top recommendation is ExpressVPN because it’s super-fast and comes with easy-to-use macOS and iOS apps.
- Open the VPN app and sign in.
- Choose and connect to a server from the server list.
- Open your streaming service app and log in. You should now be able to see your desired content (because you changed your IP address to one of a licensed country).
- Make sure your Apple TV shares the same connection as your iOS device. Then play a movie or an episode.
- Use the screen mirroring feature on your Apple device. Then select your Apple TV.
- Open the video you’re trying to play on your Mac/iPhone/iPad. Now you can watch any show or movie on your Apple TV from wherever you are.
FAQs on VPNs for Apple TV
How do I use a VPN on my Apple TV?
There are 3 ways to get a VPN on your Apple TV.
1. Use a Smart DNS: Smart DNS replaces your ISP DNS number with that of a Smart DNS so you can access your desired content — most premium VPNs have this feature. I recommend ExpressVPN because its Smart DNS feature (MediaStreamer) is easy to use and it works well for Apple TV.
2. Install a VPN on your router: When you connect your VPN to a router, you can use it on all your devices, including Apple TV. All the VPNs I’ve recommended have router support and offer step-by-step guides to install them on a router.
3. Use AirPlay: AirPlay is a screen mirroring feature that works between Apple devices. This method works by installing a VPN on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, and then AirPlaying your content onto your Apple TV.
Will Netflix work on my Apple TV if I use a VPN?
Yes, if you have a good VPN. Streaming sites like Netflix have become pretty good at detecting and blocking some VPN IP addresses, so you need a VPN with strong unblocking abilities. All the VPNs I’ve listed allowed me to access Netflix with no issues. Plus, they’re compatible with Apple TV.
Can I use a free VPN for my Apple TV?
No, you can’t because most free VPNs can’t be installed on a router and they don’t offer a separate Smart DNS option.
Secondly — unlike premium VPNs — most free VPNs have data or bandwidth limits. This isn’t good for streaming, as it can cause buffering and interruptions while you’re watching. Plus, the less-than-average server networks won’t do you any favors with unblocking streaming sites like Netflix.
Because free VPNs don’t make sales profits, they often sell your information to third parties. As such, they’re very unsafe and should be avoided.
A better option is to go for a premium VPN with a reliable money-back guarantee.
Are Apple TV and Apple TV+ the same thing?
No. Apple TV is a physical device whereas Apple TV+ is a streaming platform. They’re both owned by Apple. The Apple TV device offers different streaming apps in its store, including Apple TV+, which is similar to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and the like. You can stream Apple TV+ on a number of compatible devices — it doesn’t necessarily have to be used on Apple TV. However, you can still do that if you wish.
Apple TV and Apple TV+ content is geo-restricted, meaning you might not always be able to access all your favorite movies and shows, especially when you’re traveling. To access your desired content, you need to get a VPN to change your IP address.
Get the Best VPN for Apple TV Today
The best VPN for Apple TV is one that is compatible with the device, has reliable servers, fast speeds, and is easy to use. All the VPNs on my list work great on Apple TV. They come with router support and the top 3 also offer Smart DNS services so you can access your favorite content effortlessly.
Out of all the 5 VPNs I tested, ExpressVPN is my top choice. Its lightning-fast servers are reliable at unblocking all the major streaming platforms. This means you can access various streaming libraries and watch your favorite titles on your Apple TV in 4K. What’s more, it has its own router app for easily changing your location, and Smart DNS for even faster connection speeds.
ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to try it out risk-free with Apple TV. If you’re not happy with the service, you can get your money back before your guarantee period ends.
To summarize, here are the best VPNs for Apple TV
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